How do college students feel about online classes? Since March of 2020, a global pandemic hit hard causing students to leave the classrooms and take classes online. It is now a year later and schools have just not been the same prior to the pandemic. I asked two students who are both in college right now to share some of their thoughts on the changes that we face today. According to college student of UMASS Boston, Jamie Leavitt says, “I think in class we learned much more. A lot of classes are taken up by waiting for people to login and then take attendance. Group work in person offers much more than when done through zoom. You’re able to do work and see what the other person is doing and talk to each other much easier when you’re right next to them. Also, in person allows you to be able to work together on campus rather than trying to communicate through zoom or through email.”. From internet connection, group projects, and email communication, it seems like some of these can be considered obstacles for the full school experience. He brings up a good point, group projects are inherently harder to accomplish online rather than in person. Sometimes getting everyone together on a zoom meeting can be difficult. But, are there advantages to being online? 

Some advantages of being online include having a flexible schedule. College student Devon Uphoff of Gnomon in LA California states “In terms of managing time, I feel like it’s easier online. Before, I had to physically go to school in order to get any of my homework done, and there were set opening and closing times. Working from home allowed me to work as long as I wanted to in the morning or night.” Working longer on assignments could definitely help with improving grades and focus. Unfortunately for this student it was harder for him to have time management, Jamie says it has been “Harder to manage time mainly because I work overnights. Finding time to get enough sleep and still do school has been tough.” I could see this being an issue for students who are not used to being online and managing their own time. Some good tips would be setting a schedule for school as though you were going in person. This could help any struggling with time management. Time management can really make or break your college experience.  

I wanted to dig a little deeper and see how their grades have been affected because of the switch to online. Jamie stated “My grades have gone down negatively. I’ve failed multiple classes. I’ve had to juggle work and school a lot more… My internet has frozen a few times during classes. Teachers offer extra zoom classes during the week. I’ve always preferred being in person on a campus because it helps me focus on the classes much better and the in-person interaction is better for help.” I assume it is just as hard for teachers as it is for students to suddenly make the switch to online. Not being in-person can make communication a lot more difficult than asking a question in-person. Recently GCC also experienced some difficulties with their system’s being shut down over the course of spring break. However, the school did a good job bouncing back with only a week lost, and added at the end of the year. Some teachers have use other resources such as the app Remind, and Slack to stay more connected with their students as we go through this journey together. For Devin, his experiences Online has had a positive effect on his grades, “I feel like my grades have been more positively affected. In some ways, being more isolated allowed me to focus more as I worked and overall apply what I’m taught much better.”. Classes can be challenging, although utilizing other resources and adapting to the new environment can make huge difference in your college success. 

[Full Interview]:

What’s your name and what college do you attend? 

My name is Jamie Leavitt, and I currently attend UMass Boston for three years now. Massasoit two years prior to UMass Boston. 

1. Has switching to online affected your grades, positively or negatively? please explain. 

My grades have gone down negatively. I’ve failed multiple classes. I’ve had to juggle work and school a lot more. 

2. Do you find it easier or hard to manage your time? 

Harder to manage time mainly because I work overnights. Finding time to get enough sleep and still do school has been tough. 

3. How do you feel about zoom meetings, are they helpful? Do you feel like you get enough interactions with your teachers if you need help? 

I hate going through zoom classes. My internet has frozen a few times during classes. Teachers offer extra zoom classes during the week. I’ve always preferred being in person on a campus because it helps me focus on the classes much better and the in-person interaction is better for help. 

4. Do you feel like being online, you are learning as much as you were being in class? 

I think in class we learned much more. Alot of classes are taken up by waiting for people to login and then take attendance. Group work in person offers much more than when done through zoom. You’re able to do work and see what the other person is doing and talk to each other much easier when you’re right next to them. Also, in person allows you to be able to work together on campus rather than trying to communicate through zoom or through email. 

5. Lastly, what would you prefer as your personal preference, being in class or online? Definitely prefer in person classes. In my 5 years of college, I’ve only taken maybe two classes online total before we went virtual. Being on campus also allows me to find a quiet place to work and use school resources which I can’t do now. 

[Interview2]

What’s your name and what college did you attend? 

My name is Devon Uphoff, I’ve been at Gnomon since Oct of 2018. 

1. Has switching to online affected your grades, positively or negatively? please explain. 

I feel like my grades have been more positively affected. In some ways, being more isolated allowed me to focus more as I worked and overall apply what I’m taught much better.  

2. Do you find it easier or hard to manage your time? 

In terms of managing time, I feel like it’s easier online. Before, I had to physically go to school in order to get any of my homework done, and there were set opening and closing times. Working from home allowed me to work as long as I wanted to in the morning or night. 

How do you feel about zoom meetings, are they helpful? Do you feel like you get enough interactions with your teachers if you need help? A drawback to being online means that the class experience is overall far less personal. However, my teachers seemed just as capable of helping me online as they would have in person. 

4. Do you feel like being online, you are learning as much as you were being in class? 

I definitely feel like I’m learning as much as I would have in person, having life classrooms certainly helps with that. I’m getting dressed as much help if I needed it in person, so it feels the same way. 

5. Lastly, what would you prefer as your personal preference, being in class or online? 

Overall, I would still greatly prefer being in person. Sharing the same physical space as your classmates and teacher gives the greater sense of community and support. As smooth as being online is, it still feels much smoother to be in person.